After a court order forced the ban on Twitter to be lifted, I knew it was only a matter of time before Turkish officials shifted their attention to a different form of social media.
I had guessed Instagram, but then what do I know?
It’s actually popular website Youtube that is the new focus of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government allies.
Erdogan declared war on the video-sharing site after a secret security meeting on Syria made its way to the site, courtesy of Fethullah Gulen. The US-based cleric’s YouTube followers are blamed by Erdogan for the leak.
The uploaded material allegedly features high-ranking members of the military and government discussing fabricating an attack on Turkey. The act would then be used to justify military aggression against Syria.
While government officials admit that there was a discussion about Syria, it is claimed that parts of the video were manipulated.
The angry PM is calling the matter a “plot” related to the upcoming elections.
— Abdikarim Hussein (@Abdikarim_Abdi3) March 30, 2014
— RT (@RT_com) March 29, 2014
Aside from the Youtube ban, Turkish government officials say they are taking the eaves-dropping situation absolutely seriously.
President Abdullah Gul stated that officials will take “necessary” actions to find whoever is behind the leak. Gul also labeled it an “act of espionage targeting state security.”
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the same time claimed that controversy has “only benefited the regime” controlling Syria.
The move to block YouTube came after the site refused a government request to remove the recording.
Despite previous efforts to ban social media sites in order to limit corruption scandals falling flat, Turkey’s government officials are determined to keep up their efforts ahead of elections.
Assuming election results are an entirely corruption-free affair, it could be that Turkish government officials are only making their chances of being re-elected worse.
After all, we saw that Twitter wasn’t nearly that popular in Turkey until after the ban. The greater lengths that Erdogan and other officials go to in order to suppress discussion of corruption, it could be that they are inadvertently shining a greater light on the issue.
Image via Wikimedia Commons